Yeah, you probably don’t care to hear about this, but it’s my blog and I’ll write what I want…and today I want to talk about potty training.

Most of the Evan-aged kids we know are girls. I hear that girls tend to potty train earlier than boys do, so I was a little jealous but not shocked that a lot of Evan’s friends and cousins have stopped using diapers. For the past year Evan has had a few pairs of underwear that he used for practice. In retrospect, it’s probably a bad potty training approach to just put your kid in underwear and let them figure out (through accidents) when they need to use the toilet. Also, it hasn’t ever worked. Evan knows that if he’s wearing underwear, he should tell me if he needs to use the toilet, but he just hasn’t been able to make the real connection between “I ought to” and “right now I actually need to.” As a result I decided a while ago to not worry much about potty training until Evan seems more interested on his own.

So…last night Evan was having a bath. Something disgusting happened, maybe you can guess what? As a result I mentioned to Evan that maybe he could try sometime to go in the toilet instead of in a diaper (or perhaps the bathtub). He asked for underwear after he got out of his bath and I obliged.

And he went in the toilet twice after that! And three times this morning! I don’t know where this has come from except that he has suddenly made the right connection. (Also, he loves stickers. Stickers are great rewards.)

There’s your TMI for the day. Potty training FTW!


I’ve been thinking off and on about doing a calendar journal instead of (or in addition to) a typical journal. The difference? See the picture below of a simple calendar journal, where you have an index card for each day of the year, and write one short entry per day each year.

Originally I saw this on design*sponge, but another blog I read (Wit & Whistle) did a version as well. And the beginning of the year is of course the perfect time to start. I haven’t decided yet on how I want it to look…but there’s time, right?

So far this year:

January 1 – June has eye infection, boogers everywhere
January 2 – Family walk at Provo River trail. Pretty weather!
January 3 – Back to school but class cancelled
January 4 – Delicious quesadillas for dinner
January 5 – June learned she can crawl into her laundry hamper
January 6 – Friend’s 40th birthday party; my 1st time in a bar

[By the way, I’m using bigger index cards so I can write longer notes and fit more years on. This way, I can get 2012-2024 on each card. …From now until I’m 40!)


Evan helped me put together Christmas cards.

He drew his first “realistic” picture (that I’ve seen). This is me. It has a head with eyes, eyebrows, and hair.

I bravely let Evan sit on my lap and use scissors to cut out this mouse, and a few more like it. It was awfully time-consuming, so only a few very special friends got them.

It snowed…just barely. Most likely, the reason we’ve had a dry winter is that I got snow suits for the kids. When we did get a half inch one morning, I took advantage of it. June was unsure.

I don’t think we stayed outside for more than half an hour, but Evan had a lot of fun. Afterwards we tried having hot chocolate and marshmallows…are you surprised that Evan just wanted to eat the marshmallows and refused to drink the chocolate?

Plus, we had Christmas vacation in California and got to visit with friends and family. June has started growling deeply whenever someone says “Dinosaur!” Evan is getting to be more fun; when he isn’t tired, he likes to play games with me and run around. Thankfully I have a little more energy now than I did last semester.

Other than that, just life as usual! Lots of reading playing, and time outs (for everyone).

Sorry I don’t have any other pictures. We didn’t take a camera with us on our trip at all.

Open Me

by Sunshine O’Donnell | 230 pages, published 2007

I must have put this on my list because of the description, “Mem is a wailer, a professional mourner hired to cry at funerals. One of the few remaining American girls in this secret, illegal profession, Mem hails from a long line of mourners, including her mother, a legendary master wailer hired for the most important funerals in her hometown of Philadelphia.”

It does sound intriguing, doesn’t it?

But the whole book was just bizarre. Almost like The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus bizarre (but not quite). I felt as if the whole book were meant as an allegory, or was actually about prostitution or something? No? I almost wish one of you would read it so we could talk about it, but life is too short. Let’s discuss Pathfinder instead.

I feel odd after reading this book…

Buy Open Me on Amazon


by Neil Gaiman | 256 pages, published 1998

You’ve seen the movie, right? True to form, I liked the movie more because I saw it before I read the book. I thought it was a great adaptation and the added drama/conflict was well done. The book seemed to end abruptly. So, here’s a rare stick-with-the-movie recommendation from me.

Buy Stardust (the book) on Amazon

Buy Stardust (the movie) on Amazon

The White Mary

by Kira Salak | 368 pages, published 2008

I always took the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” to mean “Sometimes things look really stupid, but they are actually great inside.” I never imagined – until now – that it might also mean “Sometimes things look really great, but they are actually stupid inside.” (At least I don’t remember having imagined this before.)

Probably part of the trouble was that I just finished reading The Testament, and I wasn’t quite ready for another white-person-searching-for-a-different-white-person-hidden-in-the-tropics book. Also, the main character (Marika) was utterly unlikable. She and all the others characters were so exaggerated in their personalities that none were believable. An example (assuming you are never going to read this book and it won’t be a spoiler): Marika has a big fight, the first one, with her boyfriend. She storms off, decides things are over between them, hooks up with her go-to friend with benefits, then regrets it and goes back to her shared apartment; she and the boyfriend (Seb) break up and she heads to Papua New Guinea. When she calls him on a satellite phone at the end of the book because her passport and money have been stolen and she needs help getting out of the country, they have a heartfelt, tear-filled conversation in which Seb apologizes for not being more understanding and for not listening to her. Seriously. Even for literature, that’s unrealistic.

Anyway, the book also had descriptive sex scenes. Just preparing for a movie adaptation, I guess. I suggest not wasting your time on The White Mary, even if the cover looks amazing. Not worth it.

Buy The White Mary on Amazon, ignoring my recommendation

2011 Year in Review

JANUARY. Jarom and I struggled to get used to both being in school, and were still adjusting to life with 2 kids. The semester started off well, and it actually made our marriage a lot more balanced to be switching off childcare every few hours. Busy, yes – very busy. But enjoyable. I even went so far as to declare that we were thriving.

FEBRUARY. School got a little trickier. And having two kids got a little trickier. I tried joining a book club, so that I’d have some hope at sanity, but since I was taking evening classes I couldn’t usually go to the meetings. The kids kept growing: Evan was talking in short sentences, and turned 2 at the end of the month; by then he could sing “Happy Birthday,” more or less. Also, he stole my blanket (earliest reference here). I entered an essay contest on campus, which I sadly lost; the winner turned out to be a poorly-written but emotionally manipulative essay. Jarom and I went to the ballet (Sleeping Beauty) as one of my Christmas gifts. Fantastic! Oh, and my one-credit block class ended, thankfully. It was the first time I lost points on a paper for being “too academic.”

MARCH. More busy lives, more snow, more slump. Suddenly (?) doing school full-time seemed like a bad move, but I was determined to keep going so I could graduate with Jarom in 2012. The month was fairly lost to papers, tests, and lots of (school-related) reading.

APRIL. Jarom got a job lined up for the summer that would continue through the school year. We are so, so lucky to have found something that let us stay put for the summer, and not worry as much about finances during the last year of school. And as for school itself? Survived! After a frantic few weeks at the end of the semester, I finished my papers and tests and got a 4.0. Yeah, I will brag about it again because it was super amazing. The downside was that Jarom and I both had nasty sinus infections for most of April, and once we got over those, Evan came down with roseola. (Caught roseola? What’s the correct terminology here?) I tell you, a toddler with an IV is not fun for anyone. Poor Evan! Not to be upstaged, June started crawling. Well played, June.

MAY. I took the summer off from school. I also kind of took it off from plans, so May was mainly spent playing with my kids. Stay-at-home mom FTW! Notable events from May were limited to our anniversary, an Oregon Trail birthday cake, and Jarom’s extra long fishing exursion.

JUNE. The kids and I found a caterpillar, so that Caterpillar was his name, and we called him Alexander and he answered just the same. (Oops. Sorry.) But really, that was a highlight of the summer. Evan and I loved watching the caterpillar grow! I drove back to California with the kids for my brother’s wedding. Jarom painted the living room for me while I was gone. I painted a galaxy for him in return.

JULY. The big deal: Harry Potter, of course! Also my birthday. The kids and I got to go spend a week in Tahoe with Jarom’s family (he had to stay behind and work). Because he’d still be working during the semester, when both of us were in school again, we bought a second car. It’s a pretty sweet car.

AUGUST. I got a streak of purple in my hair. Jarom and I went to see Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (always my favorite). Our good friends had their first baby! (And I was temporarily convinced that I wanted another baby, too.) Best of all, I took a night off from being a mom; Jarom and I spent the night in Salt Lake while our very generous relatives looked after Evan and June.

SEPTEMBER. Back to school. I thought things would be fine, since I handled the past semester so well, but with the addition of Jarom working 20 hours a week, life was beyond hectic. I made arrangements for my neighbor to babysit my kids while I was in class – possibly the only thing that kept me sane. I started taking art classes once a week, also from my neighbor, as an additional sanity safety measure. June said her first word: “Evan.” Loud and clear.

OCTOBER. I got so stressed about school that I went to see a counselor for help. Well, it was a nice idea. In October alone I had 5 tests, and I was only taking 4 classes. Not to complain or anything, but it was way more than I felt like I could handle. The month was one panicked how-do-I-survive. Bright spot: June started walking and turned one! We sure adore her.

NOVEMBER. The panic lasted until just before Thanksgiving break, when school calmed down a little. Just to keep me on my toes, both kids AND Jarom got Hand, Foot & Mouth disease, which meant they were all contagious and we couldn’t go to Thanksgiving dinner with family. Everyone was miserable, except me; Jarom missed school because he was sick, and I missed school because I was busy taking care of everyone.

DECEMBER. Convinced that the semester would be a complete failure, I went to see another counselor, a much more helpful one. I also spoke with one of my professors and got some insight that was even better than what the counselor told me. With an extra boost of optimism and a little who-cares-anyway, I made it through the end of the semester. (If you’re wondering, I ended up with a 3.6. Considering I expected about a 2.5, not too bad!) All of us were glad to be done with tests and papers, especially since it meant we got to take a train ride to California. Evan couldn’t sleep the night before because he was so excited. A comfortable week in Northern California visiting friends and family was the perfect way to relax and enjoy ourselves. I read over 3,000 pages on our trip! Then it was back to Utah to get ready for one last (very last!) semester. I can’t wait for all the changes 2012 will bring!

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